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Emily Satinsky, David Crepaz-Keay and Antonis Kousoulis
The purpose of this paper is to review the Mental Health Foundation’s experiences designing, implementing and evaluating peer-focused self-management programmes. Through a…
The purpose of this paper is to review the Mental Health Foundation’s experiences designing, implementing and evaluating peer-focused self-management programmes. Through a discussion of barriers and good practice, it outlines ways to be successful in making such projects work to improve mental health and wellbeing among at-risk populations.
A total of 11 Mental Health Foundation programmes implemented over the past ten years were reviewed through reading manuals and publications and interviewing programme managers. Key data were extracted from each programme to analyse trends in aims, outcomes and recommendations.
Through a focus on peer-work, programmes taught individuals from a variety of societal sectors self-management skills to effectively deal with life stressors. Through sharing in non-judgmental spaces and taking ownership of programme design and content, individuals realised improvements in wellbeing and goal achievement.
Good practice, barriers and recommendations can be taken from this review and applied to future peer-focused self-management programmes. By better embedding quantitative and qualitative evaluations into programme development and implementation, programmes can add to the evidence base and effectively target needs.
This review lays out valuable experience on an innovative community service paradigm and supports the evidence on effectiveness of peer-focused self-management programmes with a variety of group populations.